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Budget discussions for county council

WEST SUSSEX County Council will meet today (Friday) to agree the budget for 2019/20 which includes a number of investments in key projects across the county.

 

The meeting, at County Hall, Chichester, will hear how the proposed 2019/20 budget of £574.9m has been balanced.

 

It will also hear about significant planned investments in key priority areas as set out in the West Sussex Plan.

 

These include:

 

An additional £6.1 million new investment in children and young people’s services and an additional £7.3 million investment in adults and health.

 

Additional investment in special support centres to help to keep students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in mainstream schools with their peers and in their local area.

 

An additional £3 million in extra care schemes to help keep older people living independently for longer.

 

A further £44.5 million investment in a sustainable energy programme which includes the installation of solar farms and battery storage on unused council land.

 

A £5 million programme to create community hubs and protect key services by bringing them together under one roof.

 

£13.8 million investment in corporate and fire fleet vehicles and £1.8 million in specialist fire equipment to support the fire and rescue service.

 

A £22.5 million investment in digital infrastructure supporting businesses and rural communities.

 

Since 2010, the council has saved more than £200m and in the same period, government funding has been cut by £145m.

 

The county council faced a challenging financial gap of £50.9m for 2019/20 alone, due to increasing demand on social care services and a continued reduction in central government funding.

 

As a result, it has identified £23.4m-worth of savings across a number of services.

 

It is proposed the remaining amount is found by increasing council tax by 4.99 per cent, which includes a dedicated 2 per cent to fund adult social care.

 

This increase would mean an additional £1.27 per week for the average Band D household.

 

County council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “Over the years, we have delivered significant savings, so we’re used to working in a challenging financial situation.

 

“We are still delivering key services to our residents and supporting those in need, and fulfilling our statutory obligations under our West Sussex plan.

 

“It’s not all bleak – through our capital programme we are investing in our communities across the county.

 

“When we need to, we are also investing to save and we are investing to generate much-needed income.”

 

Members of the county council will meet to formally agree the final budget and the level of council tax. To view budget papers go to http://ow.ly/LYFQ30nFFqG

 

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting which will be start at 10.30am.

 

The meeting will also be webcast at: westsussex.gov.uk

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